Sunday, July 23, 2006

everybody else's arses

Well, the Decents are commonly accused of pulling troops out of their arses with the aim of furthering various comically promiscuous projects for military interventions. Nick’s gone one better this week. He’s pulling troops out of everybody else’s arses:

Yet after Iraq, the phrase 'humanitarian intervention' dies on the lips. Who would do it? The British and Americans couldn't, their troops are committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in any case, the Americans are too tied to Israel. The European Union? The French just might, but overall the EU is deeply pacific as its disgraceful record in the former Yugoslavia showed.


Yes it does “die on the lips”, after Iraq, doesn’t it. Funny that. Somehow a war of choice followed by a long and grotesquely murderous period of insurgency and counter-insurgency has made people less enthusiastic about military intervention. You wouldn’t think it would have that effect, would you?

An international stabilization force doesn’t strike me as a bad idea. But instead of coming across all Billy Bumptious and blaming the Finns and Portuguese for not tooling up - not to mention the population at large from changing their minds about military intervention in response to the facts - Nick might like to consider the point that if you need to have military intervention in certain places, then it’s a bad idea occupying your troops in wars of choice elsewhere.

If Nick really wants to rebuild “an international consensus around military intervention” that idea might be a good place to start.

Ooooooh, a constructive suggestion. Is that a first for AW?

rioja kid

3 Comments:

Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

"time was when the liberal middle classes were all in favour of humanitarian intervention" ... strangely enough, you don't hear much about leeches, ra-ra skirts or the tactical acumen of Sven Goran Ericsson these days. Nothing fails like failure, as they don't say round Nick's way apparently.

7/23/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

Good to see Cohen taken to task for his absurd pirouetting. Somehow the failure of the war he supported is a reason to criticise those who opposed it.

But aside from that, and regardless of one's attitude towards interventionism, he seems dishonest in his attempt to connect Lebanon with Iraq.

He appears to be suggesting, without any justification at all, that "liberal-minded people" are so poisoned by their hatred of Bush that they wouldn't support his Blairite wheeze of an active international force in Lebanon.

But it is extremely unlikely that a strengthened U.N. force would be dismissed, as he implies, as "'all about oil', an 'illegal' war or a neoconservative plot". He is smearing the anti-war left by unwarrantedly transferring their views on a unilateral invasion of Iraq to a U.N. peacekeeping effort in Lebanon.

The reality, of course, is that the strongest opposition is likely to come from Israel, which has always objected to international forces interfering with its activities.

Overall, he is trying to say that opposition to the Iraq war implies opposition to all humanitarian intervention. That way he can pick out more congenial (and conveniently hypothetical) examples to use as a base for criticism, and forget about the consequences of his favoured interventionism in Iraq itself. Sudan is a favourite decentist's subject for this reason.

7/25/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

I should perhaps add that, regardless of recent posturing from Peretz, I still think it unlikely that Israel will accept a multinational force in the sense in which most people understand this.

Given Israel's history, the likelihood that it would accept its actions being restrained by any other force is very low.

Perhaps they believe some force can be constructed that will act as proxy against Hezbollah, but there is very little chance of a force like that appearing: it would find it even harder to operate in Lebanon than Unifil does now.

7/25/2006 06:16:00 PM  

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